“The Wyeths Across Texas” will open Friday, and with it access to paintings by America's most famous artist dynasties. Displaying works by N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth gathered exclusively from Texas-based collections, the exhibition will provide a rare opportunity to see all three artists work in one place.
Putting on an exhibition of this sort featuring artists of this caliber is quite a coup, especially for a regional museum the size of the Tyler Museum of Art given the importance of the Wyeths, both in terms of their work and the significance of their artistic dynasty, Tyler Museum of Art Curator Ken Tomio said.
“This is three generations of artists. This happened only once before over 200 years ago with a family out of Boston that produced a lot of important active artists back then,” Tomio said. “But the Wyeths are also important because of the kinds of things they painted, and they were doing this, especially with Andrew, against the backdrop of abstract impressionism. When a lot of artists were painting abstract paintings, (the Wyeths) stuck to their representational paintings and they portrayed images and scenes. Those scenes were very important in the sense that they produced a vision for America as they saw it based in New England.”
“There are certain compositional characteristics (the artists share), but there are a lot of contrasts and differences, I think,” Tomio said. “N.C., as you can see, because he had his primary interest in illustrating, he wanted to convey that story right up front. The characters and scenes are straight-on. He's not eliminating anything, he's putting everything in that you need to understand that story. Andrew, on other hand, he learned from his father's style and decided to change it. So he would have figures in his paintings that are not looking out at you, they're looking at something else. He would subtract things from what he's actually seeing and by subtraction he's creating this very pristine image of something he wants to convey.”
Jamie's work, Tomio said, both takes its cues from his father and grandfather, but always with his own unique twist.
“Jamie, he is a lot more assertive compared to his father, perhaps going back to his grandfather. But he is very much a contemporary painter in the way he uses his medium. There's a video where you can see that he's using his fingers and scratching the surface,” Tomio said. “It's very different from what his father did. But he's also into conveying something that is very familiar to himself and what's in his surroundings and environment but doing it in with a contemporary twist.”
For more of this interview, check TylerPaper.com for a full video.
“The Wyeths Across Texas” will open Friday and run through Dec. 9. For additional information, call the museum at 903-595-1001 or visit www.tylermuseum.org.